top of page


Wadi Climbing: Quiet Resistance in the West Bank

Radical Philosophy Review, forthcoming 2024.

Palestinian rock climbers in the West Bank ascend towering limestone cliffs despite being forcibly dispossessed and targeted by Israeli military and violent settlers. This paper examines their actions from the perspective of Quiet Resistance – a form of resistance where one is motivated by personal reasons to pursue activities that are obstructed by oppression. I explain what Quiet Resistance is, how it differs from political protest, and what makes it distinctively valuable. Then, I explain how Quiet Resistance allows the Palestinian climbers to maintain sources of meaning in life under oppressive circumstances. Further, as a form of symbolic action, it allows the climbers to forge a profound connection to their rightful land.

Non-Normative Behavior and the Virtue of Rebelliousness

Journal of Value Inquiry, 2023.


For many people subjected to systemic injustice, life under oppression involves participating in what philosophers have called “non-normative behavior,” or behavior that fails to comply with oppressive norms.  Discussions of the value of such actions tend to emphasize the benefits they have for other people who are subjugated. I argue that while benefiting others is a noble goal, there are oppressed persons for whom such altruistic reasons do not apply. For all that, acting non-normatively may still be ethically worthwhile. I highlight another source of value for non-normative behavior, stemming from one’s personal projects and relationships. Finally, I argue that having a disposition to engage in non-normative actions in the right way - a trait which I call rebelliousness - is a virtue under oppression, the right reasons for which include both altruistic and non-altruistic concerns.   

Violent Resistance as Radical Choice

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, 2023


What reasons stand in favor of (or against) violent resistance to oppression? I distinguish two kinds of normative reasons that bear relevantly in such a practical deliberation. I argue that in addition to reasons of impartial morality, victims’ personal projects and relationships may also provide reasons for (or against) violent resistance. Moreover, there is no guarantee that conflicts will not occur between such reasons. Thus, some acts of violent resistance may arise from situations of radical choice in which impartial moral reasons and personal reasons pull the agent in opposite directions. Regardless of what we ultimately think agents facing such decisions ought to do, all things considered, recognizing such conflicts is crucial for understanding the circumstances that give rise to violence and for better sympathizing with victims who are pushed to such extreme modes of resistance.


Oppositional Anger: Aptness without Appreciation

Social Philosophy Today, 2021​


What makes anger an appropriate response to systemic injustice? Let us assume that it cannot merely be its positive effects. That is, sometimes we should be angry even when getting angry is bound to make things worse. What makes such anger appropriate? According to Amia Srinivasan (2017), counterproductive anger is only apt if it passes a necessary condition that I call the Matching Constraint: one’s personal reason for getting angry must match the fact that justifies their anger. When the Matching Constraint is satisfied, anger can be an intrinsically worthwhile way of affectively appreciating injustice. I argue that the Matching Constraint is incorrect. More precisely, I take issue with its status as a necessary condition on apt anger. Anger can be an apt response to injustice even when it fails to be a form of affective appreciation. Often enough, one does not know why they are angry, or one is not angry for the reason that justifies their anger. For all that, it may still be appropriate for them to be angry. After presenting several cases of apt anger that fail the Matching Constraint, I suggest an alternative standard for aptness based on the general function of anger in our psychology. On my view, anger is apt when and because it alerts one, however coarsely or crudely, to threats against one’s values.


Quiet Resistance: The Value of Personal Defiance

The Journal of Ethics, 2020

What reason does one have to resist oppression? The reasons that most easily come to mind are those having to do with justice—reasons that arise from commitments to human equality and the common good. In this paper, I argue that there are also reasons of love—reasons that arise from personal attachments to specific people, projects, or activities. I defend a distinctive form of resistance that is characteristically undertaken for reasons of love, which I call Quiet Resistance. Contrary to theories that build reasons of justice into the definition of resistance, I argue that we have strong reason to consider Quiet Resistance a genuine form of resistance. Finally, I argue that the reasons in favor of engaging in Quiet Resistance help to explain its distinctive value. In short, when one engages in Quiet Resistance, one’s actions are valuable in large part because they allow one to maintain respect for one’s personal values and meaning in life under oppressive conditions.

Eight Dimensions of Resistance

Pacifism, Politics and Feminism, ed. J. Kling, 2019

Resisting oppression evokes images of picket lines and crowds of protestors demanding large- scale reform. But not all resistance is political or publicly broadcast. Some acts of resistance are done solo, in private, aim to achieve personal goals, and may not even be recognizable as resistance by others. I present a taxonomy of resistance to oppression that distinguishes acts of resistance along four dimensions: their subject (who is resisting? An individual or a group?), target (what is being resisted? A public policy or private circumstance?), scope (whose interests are being defended or advanced by the act of resistance?), and tone (does the resistance aim to send a message to the public?). The taxonomy brings to light a range of actions that tend to be neglected and that ethical theories of resistance should be able to accommodate.


In Progress​

Audacious Integrity: On the Value of Imperfect Resistance

Resistance is not always morally perfect. Mona Eltahawy used violence beyond self-defense to beat up a man who groped her in a club. Closeted queer folks in so-called “lavender marriages” systematically deceive homophobic loved ones about their sexual identities while living the lives they choose behind closed doors. H. Rap Brown stole from the White House after President Johnson belittled activists’ concerns about police brutality during Selma. The moral imperfections of such actions are easy to point out, but what, if anything, can be said in their favor? I argue that such acts of imperfect resistance exhibit the virtue of audacious integrity, a trait which, when performed well, can be conducive to resisting oppression. Audacious integrity comprises audacity, or the skill of taking moral risks to propel transformative outcomes, backed by a particular kind of integrity, consisting in having well-founded judgements about one’s oppression and being willing to stand by them when resisting. In the context of imperfect resistance, audacious integrity allows agents to determine when to abide by moral norms and when to go against them for the sake of making a formidable challenge to oppression. While it is not unique to imperfect resistance, audacious integrity is particularly impressive when it is displayed in that context. This is because the stage is often set for imperfect resistance when, due to social or epistemic injustices, the morally best course of action is unclear or appears to be an inadequate response to an oppressive situation. Where others may be diminished or immobilized by moral risks and uncertainties, agents with audacious integrity act boldly on their best judgement, despite the real possibility of failure.  

Feminist Philosophy and Film: The Conditions of Sexual Violence in Marilyn Frye's 'Sexism' and Joyce Chopra's Smooth Talk

Co-authored with Philip Bold

Eliminating sexual violence requires understanding where it comes from and why it happens. We must learn to detect when the grounds for violence are being built up so that we can promptly take them down. How can we improve our ability to notice the subtle practices of sexism and make them a matter of critical reflection? The aim of this paper is to show how film can enhance critical perception of the social conditions that give rise to sexual violence in particular. We will do this by way of a specific example, showing how Joyce Chopra’s 1985 film Smooth Talk serves to display the complex circumstances that make sexual violence possible – thereby illustrating (and allowing us to see) Frye’s philosophical insight about the interconnected mechanisms of oppression.

Violent Resistance to Sexual Violence


Some victims of sexual violence fight back, seriously harming their abusers as a way of taking power or exacting retribution. Although violence always raises moral questions, there is nevertheless something impressive about those whose actions succeed in posing a formidable challenge to their oppression. What might be good about some victims’ violent resistance to sexual abuse, despite the apparent moral risks or shortcomings? This paper presents two ways of thinking about the ethical value of such non-ideal acts of resistance. First, violent resistance may allow victims to maintain ties to personal projects and relationships that are being undermined by their abusers. Second, violent resistance may display the virtue of audacious integrity – the skill of taking moral risks to propel transformative outcomes based on one’s best convictions about one’s oppression.


Reasons to Resist (book project)

Unmoralizing Resistance: Three Lessons from the Ground

Public Philosophy 

“The Ethics of Protesting: How far is too far in getting your message across?” by Camille Gage. Minnesota Reformer. Oct. 2020 (invited interview)


“Meet Tamara Fakhoury: Philosopher, Artist, Educator” by Sofia Haan, UMN CLA (invited interview)


bottom of page